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Old 10-05-2022, 06:03 PM   #1
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Lincoln Nautilus Towing Issue

I am flat towing a 2020 Lincoln Nautilus Black Label behind my Class A and I'm having issues with the front tires (primarily left front) wobbling when making turns (mostly left turns). Frustratingly it does not happen on ever turn. Today I had some friends stand on numerous corners as I made left turns to see if they could catch the action on video so I would have something to show my Lincoln service advisor. They captured it doing it slightly, but not as violent as other times. Sometimes it gets so bad that I have to almost come to a complete stop to stop the bucking as it turns into a bucking bronco as it rocks from side to side. The first time it happened, I thought I as going to find numerous lug nuts about half secured as the tire wobbled very noticeably in my side mirror, but they were fine and the car drove okay once unhooked. I have had it checked out twice at my Lincoln dealer and they have told me that nothing is wrong with the steering or tires.
I take turns very slowly, but it still happens. Today it actually happened as I was driving down a local city street on my way to return the RV to storage and the car was in tow. The speed limit was 25 and I was entering a slight left curve, so I was probably closer to 20 mph when it started rocking and I had braked to an almost stop to control the car. It's a scary feeling when the car's bouncing around can be felt thru the chassis of a 43' RV.
Tomorrow I planned to contact the business that installed my base plate and all the other towing-related items to see if this could be possibly be related to what's been installed on the car. If they say it has nothing to do with tow equipment and if no other Nautilus owners reading this have experience this, then I will see if I can convince my Lincoln service advisor to climb onboard and go for a ride.
Are there any Lincoln Nautilus owners that have experienced this problem?
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Old 10-05-2022, 11:16 PM   #2
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Hi, don't know much about a Lincoln Nautilus but is it front wheel drive or 4wd ?
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Old 10-06-2022, 09:30 AM   #3
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My Nautilus is the AWD with the 2.7L engine. If I remember my research correctly, the FWD is not towable, but the AWD is.
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Old 10-06-2022, 11:57 AM   #4
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When connected to your motorhome and the RV is at normal driving height, is the tow bar level within +/- 3 inches? Do you notice any type of vibration in the steering wheel when driving the Nautilus at various speeds?

Your description in very similar to the "Death Wobble" experienced by many Jeep owners but I'm sure it is a completely different issue.
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Old 10-06-2022, 05:40 PM   #5
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Yes, you can flat tow a Lincoln Nautilus as long as it is equipped with a 2.7-liter engine. Lincoln also made it available to tow both the Front-Wheel Drive and All-Wheel Drive options of the Nautilus. If you will be using a tow dolly to haul your Nautilus, only the FWD is towable this way.


https://vehq.com/can-you-flat-tow-a-lincoln-nautilus/

I was going to ask about the tow bar height as well.
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Old 10-06-2022, 05:50 PM   #6
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The RV is in storage 30 minutes away, but I will be retrieving it this Sunday to take it in Monday for some Spartan chassis issues and will check the levelness of the tow bar at that time. I feel absolutely no vibration in the steering wheel when driving it. I'll report my findings early next week. Thanks.
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Old 10-07-2022, 10:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PMPVentana21 View Post
The RV is in storage 30 minutes away, but I will be retrieving it this Sunday to take it in Monday for some Spartan chassis issues and will check the levelness of the tow bar at that time. I feel absolutely no vibration in the steering wheel when driving it. I'll report my findings early next week. Thanks.

Cool, and if by chance that is the issue they make adapters to correct the height you probably know that. I was fortunate that mine lined up (towing a full sized Ram)
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Old 10-07-2022, 10:12 AM   #8
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UPDATE:
Based on JimBones' comment about "Death Wobble", I continued digging into this issue last night and I think it has led me to a probable explanation. I won't know for sure until I get it into the dealer's shop next Thursday.

It seems that "death wobble" is a problem with other makes and models, not just Jeep. I found examples of it occurring in the Lincoln Nautilus and the Ford Edge. One person preferred to call it "violent shaking" as the "death wobble" condition to him was one that resulted in the person losing control of the vehicle they were actually driving and it subsequently crashing (frightfully alarming tho, I did find a report online of a toad violently shaking so much that it ripped the tow bar from the RV and the toad proceeded to crash on the side of the road). He also used the term "bump steer" (it's BS alright) and this is his description:
"The actual cause is the front end steering geometry of the vehicle and the fact it has electric power steering vs hydraulic. When it's being towed the electric steering is inactive and provides no centering force to the steering. As you slowly begin to accelerate and turn, the wheels are cornering at different included angles of turn and the slightest wheel deflection (bump) will cause the steering to begin to oscillate back and forth. The technical engineering term for this condition is Bump Steer. "

Three of my 4 worst experiences of this condition were almost identical to this gentleman's comments:
"I have experienced this phenomenon on three occasions. One all three occasions it happened when I was exiting an Interstate, coming down the ramp and making a left turn onto the route I needed to take. In all three instances it was not necessary that I make a complete stop and all three instances the route I was turning onto had a wide medium, so there was a "hump" or "bump" encountered as I crossed over the lanes (going to the right) then the medium strip to the left lanes."

For now I think I am on the right track and I just hope that the service department can identify and implement a resolution. I read that for a Ford Edge the solution was to install a cable adapter that only keeps the power steering pump on. For the one instance I found it being a problem with a Nautilus, the solution was to have a dealer check for software updates for the steering control module and update as needed and then recalibrate the steering. Hopefully the dealer I found can address this quickly as my winter-in-Florida date is quickly approaching. As many have noted in comments about toad problems, dealerships know very little about 4 down towing, don't even recognize that some of their models can be towed, so I've got my fingers crossed for a timely resolution.

More later as the saga continues. Thanks again JimBones for pointing me to the rabbit hole that has gotten me thus far. Thanks to the others for their comments too. Never have the words "it takes a village" been so appropriate. I will update when I get final resolution.

For now I am going to get my nose out of this computer and go enjoy a beautiful fall weekend

Enjoy your weekend RV'ers,
Patti
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Old 10-07-2022, 10:30 AM   #9
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I towed my 2016 trailhawk about 40k miles before I experienced the death wobble. Jeep has a kit/ wiring harness available that when installed powers the elec. steering. It is installed on the car and so far so good. Hopefully Lincoln has a similar fix. A charge line from the MH to the toads battery insures the battery doesnt discharge. Good luck!
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Old 10-07-2022, 07:30 PM   #10
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As far as I am aware, Ford never addressed this issue directly. Yes, the culprit is the front end geometry of this model Ford chassis. It needs more positive caster, but the caster is not adjustable as is from Ford due to the electric power steering.

One way to counter act this problem is to take a long bungee cord and attach one end under the leading edge of the driver's seat. Then with the steering wheel centered, loop the bungee cord around the bottom of the steering wheel several times. Then take the remaining end and attach it also under the bottom edge of the driver's seat. Make sure the cord has sufficient tension to hold the steering wheel straight without slipping.
The bungee cord will provide sufficient force to maintain a centering effect on the steering wheel and prevent your Bump Steer problem.
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Old 10-08-2022, 08:49 AM   #11
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Sounds logical, but I'm just curious as to whether or not the steering wheel actually turns when the tires make a controlled turn? If it does, I shouldn't make the bungee cord SUPER taunt? Just taunt enough to let it flex with a turn, but taunt enough to stop it from rocking uncontrollably back and forth?
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Old 10-08-2022, 10:05 AM   #12
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I looked at a 2020 Lincoln Nautilus owner's manual and it says to remove the negative battery cable to flat tow it. If you have to do that, I wouldn't think a software update to the steering control would make any difference since it wouldn't have any electrical power. You mentioned adding a special harness to the Ford Edge (and some Jeep models) to keep the power steering on - that would make sense. Of course then you might need to worry about draining the battery but there are solutions for that problem.

I recommend you file a safety complaint on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website (https://www.nhtsa.gov/report-a-safety-problem#index). That, at least, gets it on record.
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Old 10-08-2022, 11:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PMPVentana21 View Post
Sounds logical, but I'm just curious as to whether or not the steering wheel actually turns when the tires make a controlled turn? If it does, I shouldn't make the bungee cord SUPER taunt? Just taunt enough to let it flex with a turn, but taunt enough to stop it from rocking uncontrollably back and forth?

That is correct. However you would be surprised how little the steering wheel actually turns. Normally less than 20 degrees either way while being towed.
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Old 10-09-2022, 03:01 PM   #14
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I'll do that JimBones as soon as I see what the dealership allows this Thursday. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if they hand me a bungee cord.
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